Microsoft reveals new details on Xbox Series X’s backward compatibility
In a new Xbox Wire blog post this morning, Xbox Series X director of program management Jason Ronald outlines some new details on the backward compatibility features for Microsoft’s next-generation console.
“As gamers, we also know how important it is to preserve and respect our gaming legacies,” Ronald writes. “Your favorite games and franchises, your progression and achievements, and the friendships and communities you create through gaming should all move with you across generations. Not only that, your favorite gaming accessories and peripherals should also move forward with you as well.”
Ronald goes on to explain that in order to preserve the legacy of previous Xbox generations on Xbox Series X, the team at Microsoft has already spent over 100,000 hours playtesting thousands of games on the new hardware. Ronald continues on that many members of Team Xbox are already using Xbox Series X as their primary console, and that switching between generations is “seamless.”
“By the time we launch this holiday, the team will have spent well over 200,000 hours ensuring your game library is ready for you to jump in immediately,” says Ronald. He adds that all backward-compatible games run natively on the hardware, with “no boost mode, no down clocking.”
As the blog post continues, Ronald starts talking about the improvements older games will gain on Xbox Series X. One benefit that’s obvious will be reductions in load times thanks to the hardware’s custom NVME SSD, a feature that rival PlayStation 5 will share.
Where things get especially interesting is when he moves into territory that we didn’t know yet. One of the thing I’ve honestly found exciting about Xbox Series X is its new technology for bringing HDR support seamlessly to games that never had it before. While we knew this feature was coming to Xbox One games when played on the new console, Ronald reveals that the Xbox Advanced Technology Group’s HDR reconstruction technique will also support Xbox 360 and original Xbox games—all, we’re told, with zero resulting lag.
Another very welcome announcement is that Xbox Series X’s more advanced Quick Resume features can be enabled for your backward-compatible games as well, without any additional work needed from the original development team.
Hitting again on how classic Xbox games will see improvements on Xbox Series X, Ronald runs down a variety of techniques that’ll exist for bringing older titles closer to new era standards, such as rendered games with increased resolution up to 4k, applying anisotropic filtering, or even “including the ability to double the frame rate of a select set of titles from 30 fps to 60 fps or 60 fps to 120 fps.”
There’s a lot more that Ronald says in his blog post, but as I wrap things up, let me get a little personal for a moment. While, being honest, some parts of the post read like marketing talk, there’s a deeper level of effort that Ronald hits on that really matters to someone like me. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to care more and more about preserving games from our (and my own) past, and I’m growing increasingly weary of the idea of ever having another console generation where we have to throw the previous ones away.
As a player, more so than as a professional, I’ve been legitimately impressed with the Xbox team’s backward-compatibility efforts on the Xbox One, to the point that it’s directly affected my choice in consoles when purchasing certain releases. So, when I read of additional features we’ll be seeing on Xbox One X, such as the wider support for HDR and the frame rate improvements, that kind of stuff matters to me. And, I’m sure, a lot of others as well.
Source: Xbox Wire
Mollie got her start in games media via the crazy world of gaming fanzines, and now works at EGM with the goal of covering all of the weird Japanese and niche releases that nobody else on staff cares about. She’s active in the gaming community on a personal level, and an outspoken voice on topics such as equality in gaming, consumer rights, and good UI. Check her out on Twitter and Mastodon.